Offline Gold And WordPress Affiliate Pages

Just recently I’ve found myself going a little crazy. I’m trying to settle down to do TWO particular tasks.

#1 – Create another highly targetted automated list builder.
#2 – Sort out the free learning site.

In both cases, I know exactly what it is I need to do, and while #1 should only take me about 4 hours or less, and #2 several days to get up and running, I find myself unable to do either one.

And it’s driving me mad.

The last 3 days I’ve sat down in the morning fully intending to to do #1. But each day I’ve just had a “play” with another little project that’s taken my fancy. And each day it’s ended up turning into an all day session.

What is it that’s got me so distracted?

Simple. “Offline Gold.”

In case you don’t know what that is, it’s turning your marketing skills (you have some right?) away from the internet and instead targetting local niche businesses such as dentists and plumbers etc.

The more I’ve looked at this, the more I’ve realised there’s very little competition, far less than there is online. And the number of small businesses that don’t even have a website is ridiculous. It’s like they’re living in a time warp – at least that’s what I thought initially.

I’m now beginning to realise that most of them would probably like to be online, but don’t have a good reason to invest possibly thousands doing so.

From what I can tell, that seems to be the perception of the costs involved. Thousands.

Now I know that’s amazing to you and me, as it’s dead easy to create a WordPress blog and then choose one of the many free themes that are knocking about. Add some text and a few photos and you’re done. Hey presto! A niche website.

Here’s where it gets really interesting.

There are any number of sites that are selling “web designs” to small businesses, but sod all that are selling marketing to them.

The fact is, pretty designs don’t make a sale, it’s the words that do it. It’s the words that pull in search traffic and it’s the words that turn a prospect into a customer. Yes a nice looking site certainly helps, but I’d guess less than 5% from my experience online.

What does that mean to you?

Well. If you can take the time out to educate businesses local to you about the power of a website to convert visitors to prospects to customers, they’ll look up to you and you’ll become the local marketing authority.

Ray LaFoy said to me a couple of years ago “our internet marketing skills would make us gods offline” I took that comment for granted at the time, but looking at the HUGE potential around us, and the fact that it’s crunch time for many businesses given the economic climate, isn’t this the perfect time to be investigating selling a few simple services to businesses local to you?

For instance, it should be relatively easy to ask small local businesses such as dental practices for $50 month in return for registering a domain and building a web site with a sign up box, all centred around WordPress. The $50 would be for “maintenance and backups” and is zilch in terms of costs to a dental practice charging $500 for 30 minutes work.

But it’s funny how thoughts can differ on subjects like this.

Discussing this with Paul (the developer of SmartDD), he said “isn’t that a bit much?”

Discussing it with my wife, she said “that’s nowhere near enough!”

Paul takes his enviable technical skills for granted and so doesn’t see any great value in his abilities. We ALL do that. We ALL underestimate how valuable our particular skill is to other people that wouldn’t have a clue how to get started. You have to put yourself in the right mind set and imagine yourself as not knowing anything about the subject in question.

My wife thought that $50 wasn’t enough for acting as a marketing consultant to small business, but that wasn’t my intention at this price point, and a quick and heated discussion sorted that out.

I think $50 per month is just right for a “foot in the door” product.

For $50 recurring each month you could afford to put aside 8 hours to put together a WordPress blog fully loaded with the plugins required and the content supplied by your client.

I won’t break down my thoughts behind those costs in this post, but 8 hours or less seems to me to be a reasonable amount of time to do the necessary work once the client has supplied all the content.

If you rate your time at a paltry $20 hour, then you’re losing money on the deal for the first 3 months. From month 4 and beyond you’re in the black.

But the REAL benefit is that you have a client who trusts you and sees you provide excellent value for money. From their perspective they’re paying you a pittance in return for a good looking website that they can go and add content to themselves.

If they want YOU to add the content, then as part of the deal you’ve already told them up front that you normally bill at $50 hour, including phone calls and other hand-holding tasks. My guess is that at least half of them will do it that way, but I could be grossly underestimating that and it might well be all of them.

That then becomes easy money for the skills involved.

Anything is easy if you know how to do it. For instance, if you’re a dentist and you know how to fill teeth or fit crowns, it’s not hard to do, but it IS worth a lot of money.

What I’m saying is, don’t underestimate your individual skills worth to other people.

Once you get past that additional money earner, then the next bit is to educate your clients about marketing and SEO. THIS is where the real money comes in.

When you have their interest you can start to give them quotes for additional “on page” optimising of their web sites. Then you can offer them backlink packages, for example you could offer an “ongoing SEO campaign” and add 10 incoming links per month (easy), and just add it to their existing payments.

Most small businesses will start to see results almost straight away from even the smallest link campaign as it’s very targetted – think “[your town] dentists” and you won’t go far wrong.

And as you educate them more and more about marketing, you can offer more and more such as setting up an autoresponder sequence. Once you’ve emphasised the money angle to them and the fact that a good sequence builds trust, it’s as good as sold.

And I have a few ideas about how you can do that to prove what you’re telling them is true.

Next, sell them on the concept of a sales page on their blog (completely unheard of by small businesses and will blow their minds) and add in my WordPress Affiliate Pages method and you have a winner on your hands.

The upshot of all this is I’ve clearly had my inquisitiveness “gland” tickled and I’ve been doing homework on the whole offline gold thing.

So what do think? Is this something you’d like to see me pursue and put together a product for?

It’s certainly something I’m up for, and I’m trying this out locally whether you say yay or nay. The difference is, should I put a bundle together for you to try out for yourself?

I’m very confident I know exactly where to go with this, and what kind of bundle would be useful to you as I’m running into my own issues already.

Yes. I’ve started building a site to launch this new venture from.

I couldn’t help it. I can spot a good money spinner a mile away, and I know this is one of them.

Multiple Income Streams.

That’s VERY important, just remember that phrase.

Comments please.

-Frank Haywood


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25 Comments

  1. Shelby says:

    Hey Frank,

    The Offline world is ripe for the picking, I would recommend charging more than that otherwise you’re severely short changing yourself and your skills. Think in the hundreds if not thousands and you’re going to be closer to the mark.

    Just My Two Cents,

    Shelby

  2. steve says:

    Hi Frank

    My business partner and I have been focused at working with people in the offline world for a while.

    I think your low cost approach would work but be aware that many of the guys who have offline business are not that good at providing content.

    A lot of people selling web services are cold calling offline business (at least in the UK) offering SEO and other stuff so you need to think about how to communicate with them.

    We are now tending to do the whole thing ourselves but rather than sell websites or SEO etc to the offline market. We just set up JV deals with them. There are dozens of markets which are untouched and any IM worth their salt could make good money.

    It will be interesting to see how our test cases work out. So far it looks promising especially when you could get 15% of a £20k deal all for building some little websites and a bit of link building.

    All the best

    Steve

  3. Mike Maggs says:

    Frank,

    I’ve been using this successful business model for a few months now and can attest to it’s success.

    I have several clients who pay me from $100-300/month just for e-mail management and promotion to their lists. One of my clients has a Japanese restaurant. He paid $1500 for the website + $200/month for hosting, maintenance, and e-mail management.

    If you are interested in this model..DO NOT short change yourself.

    Show the customer a decent R.O.I. based on their numbers and you WILL get the fee you deserve.

  4. Gareth Hogan says:

    Hi Frank,
    I think you are right there are lots of “Designers” out there selling websites but not many offering marketing support. Lots of small businesses get lumbered with fancy websites and no traffic. (Funny how they never get told about Google analytics)

    There was a discussion on the warriors forum a while back about simply checking out your own local websites to see if they they had sign up pages and offering to do this for them, for $50 dollars a whack and then offering “management”. This simlpy involved managing their autoresponder account, lists and sending out a few mailing shots a month for another steady fee. Would that new autoresponder service you were raving about let you hold different lists, for different clients, on one account?

    Also it would be quite simple to buy a monthly backlink list off someone like Angela Edwards and do those for the client as well.
    Mind you even a backlink from this blog seems to do wonders! : )

    At the end of the day it seems you do not have to be an “Expert”, just know more than the person you are helping.

    I would definitely be interested in a small business wordpress package that had all the trimmings, as well as plugins, a couple of dozen good themes and easy interchangeable widgets and headers.

    One point though I would move away from the the term S.E.O. which has had some bad press in the U.K. in favour of S.E.M. (Search Engine Management)

    best wishes
    Gareth

  5. Mike Russen says:

    Hi Frank,

    Yep been doing this quietly for a few years, the thing is to target small business who have a restricted advertising budget, then over deliver for them it pays of in that they are please and also tell other local businesses what a deal they got.

    Cheers

    Mike

  6. Vern Brown says:

    WOW Frank, you’ve hit the “mother load”!! This has been going on for some time, on the internet, but seems to have ‘faded’ into the background.

    Your ideas look great for using WP as the groundwork and you’ve already started that!

    I’ve been ‘dabbling’ with this in my own area of the world and you’re absolutely right!! Local businesses are ‘ripe’ for this NOW, as never before.

    I look forward to your expansion of this concept. Thanks for the kick-start to ‘my’ offline endeavours!

  7. Raymond Rushton-Gough says:

    Have you been on Jim Cockrum’s site, Offline Gold, to get all excited about this?

  8. Hi Frank,

    When I read your email I had to come on over to read the full blog post because it’s been something that I’ve been thinking of doing seriously after my awareness about the opportunity was raised either late last year or early this year(I can’t quite remember the exact date). What I do know is that Neil Stafford and Neil Travers (the 2 Neils) have mentioned it several times in their membership site materials, Howie Schwartz recognised this opportunity too (given the recession in the USA) and, strangely enough, last year I bought a product called “Easy Offline Riches” which I haven’t done anything with yet(again!!).

    I’ve been thinking about providing this type of service for a number of months, even hooking up with a couple of guys in the internet marketing field that I know have better internet technical skills than I do (well I think they do, I might be underselling myself given what I’ve learnt these last few months – including the WP Aff Pages product from your good self – superb concept and something I will be using soon). I spoke to a couple of local businesses, nothing formally mind you, just as an aside when the opportunity presented itself, and even got my IM guru mate to talk to the business owner. Nothing happened, it just seemed to fizzle out. Also I wasn’t keen on the price my mate wanted for development of the blog site cum brochure site for the business! Seemed pricey to me (he was talking about a fee of GBP 997 or thereabouts as he said the initial setup and changing of the blog design to the customer spec was time consuming) and I didn’t see any business willing to spend this much at the first touch, especially if it’s a small local business! Some are doing okay, but most are not and trying to persuade them to part with cash upfront is a hard sell.

    I’m also concerned about offering a service which might not get them the traffic they want/need or the extra business, in other words, promising something I can’t deliver. I can set up the blog using Fantastico, easy peasy, but the SEO of the blog and the intricate optimisation of the blog is something I haven’t completely got my head around yet! I want to be sure I can do what I say before I go off and hawk my online service to offline businesses. Oh yes, I remember David Cavanagh also does something similar but you have to join his mentoring programme to find out! I don’t want to join any mentoring or coaching right now, I already have some other stuff I need to start/finish before I take on more (however if you do create a product, price it reasonably or offer something nobody else does then I would probably buy it and shelve it for the near term projects to be done after I’ve finished off the other projects I mentioned earlier!!).

    Anyhow, sorry it’s been a bit of a long post, but I think it’s a great idea and can be profitable for everybody concerned. I would love to be able to set something up earning at least GBP6,000 a month on a residual basis (to free me of my day job) and at the same time be able to say I helped save a local business or take their profits to the next level and say I helped them to carefully expand rather than contract. That would be so cool, plus with my other business acumen I could add additional services later (but that would be optional of course).

    Let me know how you get on with this idea… I think it’s a goer.

    Kind regards.

    Gareth C Thomas

  9. Greg says:

    Hey Frank,

    This idea has been tickling my fancy for while now also. Howie Schwartz just recently promoted his own training on this concept and was charging about $5000 for it – maybe not the correct price but I know if was very high and way too steep for me. I am actually trying to bring in some more profits using IPK in order to get the SEM Business Blueprint from Steve Clayton and Tim Godfrey. Their package looks very good and has a reasonable price of only $197. I was wondering if you have looked at or bought the SEM Business Blueprint and if so; what did you think about it?

    I was also wonderering if your Offline Gold plans include being a hosting reseller so that you are not only selling the website design but also the hosting? Have you done that before? If so, is it as much hassel as it seems to keep track of administratively?

    Thanks for your thoughts,
    Greg Rose

  10. Gareth Hogan says:

    just thought of something else. Local Business Center for Google Maps can help you lead your customers to your door by allowing you to create (for free) a business listing together with your address, phone number, and hours of operation.

    In addition to that, you can also create coupons, and display photos and videos. As a marketer, you can use Local Business to promote your own consulting services. Contact local companies, small businesses, and other small family business operations.

    Inquire if they have an online business presence. If not, help them put their business on the Internet. You can provide an invaluable service using Local Business Center.

  11. I agree with your thinking Frank. I have a slightly different take to you on where the money is, but very interested in seeing things through your eyes. All the best from downunder…

  12. Offline services is definitely a “higher ticket” and viable way to make money and use skills we have. Higher than online “selling ebooks” (unless you can find something unique awesome and know how to promote it really well.)

    The main problem, as with all business, is getting the first clients.

    Once you have been locked behind a desk for a few years you lose contact with any networks you may have had to make a start with. If I were looking for one thing to make this work, I would like to know more about how to advertise offline to get clients offline in order to bring them online.

    The how to

  13. Ray Harries says:

    Hi Frank, another great idea,mate. Perhaps I can share my limited experience with you.
    I’m already doing this in a small way with a local Cons club. I’ve registered the domain name (keeping myself as the registrant) and I host it through my own reseller account.I recommend holding on to the domain name and “hiring” it to your client as part of the monthly charge in order to keep your clients from being poached by other would-be consultants.
    I didn’t charge anything for the setup but I’m charging £40 per month to administer the site (upload content,etc although they provide the content) and they seem very happy with it.Obviously there are a few naysayers at the club but the people who matter can see the benefits of having their own site.
    In fact just tonight a query for hiring a function room came through the site’s “Contact Us” page.
    I was a member of Jim Cockrum’s OfflineBiz.com but found that I wasn’t using it that much so I cancelled it in order to save the $19.95 monthly fee.
    I know that I should be pursuing this opportunity but probably need the kick up the backside that you usually provide.
    Any SEO and marketing tips that you care to share with us would certainly be appreciated by yours truly so, yes, a battle plan listing steps to take would be great.
    As you so rightly say, this is a big enough pot for everybody to share in although the hardest part for me has been to convince people that it is in their best interests to spend a bit of cash in order to establish their presence online.
    Looking forward to other people’s reactions.

    Cheers for now

    Ray

  14. Hey Frank,

    This market is huge, I’ve been doing it since 1995.

    I will tell you based on my experience that the more you
    can automate and the more you can do things where the
    client has no input the better off you will be.

    Clients that know nothing seem to know everything when
    they are paying for it.

    No matter what you do make sure the client knows exactly
    what he is getting for his money UP FRONT!

    Then it’s your job to make sure he doesn’t get any more or
    they will bug you 24/7 with all of the stuff they think of.

    You have to have the spine to say, sure I can do that it will
    cost you XXX.XX how did you want to pay for that?

    Enjoy

  15. Mike Russen says:

    Yea have to agree with the EASY PROSPECTING post above. Never be afraid to tell them your rates for the work and I always get 50% in advance so they know they are committed to the project. Never pass over control until you have been paid in full and they sign off on the project. It also pays to have a written agreement with the client, this from experience as I got burned a few years ago. Create a business plann and be sure to take the above into the plan.

    Good luck to all who do this. Don’t sit on the fence, in one town there are hundreds of punters who will pay :-)

    Cheers

    Mike

  16. Nathan Hull says:

    this is a great business model. I have been doing it in a very small town for about 2 years now . i have a local portal now plus my own storefront where i offer internet marketing consulting, web design and even computer repair. I will deffinatly get this product to add to my arsenal if it is reasonably priced.

  17. Frank Haywood says:

    Shelby:

    Yes, I agree. My thoughts are that when you’re beginning with something like this, then prospecting is going to be the hardest part. I know from long experience that you need a “marketing funnel” where some of your products are low cost or free, some slightly higher and so on all the way up to your premium big ticket items. By offering a low cost website, you get that “foot in the door” you need to even be considered to offer higher value services.

    You lose a little money up front, but get it back after a few weeks. Over time you’ll learn what your visitor value is worth and you can make more educated decisions. Like anything when youre starting out, you have to carefully test to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

    Steve:

    I’ve had a good look round your site, and I found it very interesting that we’re on the same wavelength with regards to educating your visitors to turn them into prospects. I’ll do it a little differently and I’ve started writing my articles as sales copy to emphasise right from the beginning what’s in it for them. Some will have a call to action some won’t. And I’m also basing my sites on WordPress.

    Other than that I pretty much agree with the principles and your approach, it seems to tick all the boxes as far as I can see. Good stuff.

    As for JV-ing with some businesses, why not? I would want to pick and choose carefully who I did this for, and only after I had a good relationship with the business owners.

    You’re absolutely right though, it should be relatively straight forward to promote any business and take a cut of a particular promotion. Some would work out, some wouldn’t. I wouldn’t want to do this until I knew the core of this venture is profitable and then start taking risks on JV-ing with businesses.

    What I mean by that is, I’ve been stung before and did a lot of work a few years ago on a JV basis for a venture that would have been extremely lucrative if the other half of the JV had kept to his part. I did 6 months work on this project for an initial payout of £30,000 if all had gone well, with more to follow. But the whole thing was out of my personal control, went belly up and I was lucky to get the £6,000 I did. Never again.

    Mike:

    Yep, it’s all in the boring old numbers isn’t it? We can get all excited about how it’s going to work, but in the end it all boils down to maths and what your customer gets from their investment.

    And when they see you deliver what you promised them, the trust grows and so do your fees. ;)

    Gareth H:

    Think about the skill levels in marketing that we have compared to site designers, some of whom will NEVER get it, and we have a distinct advantage over them. All they can say is “you need to be online and you’ll get more business”. We can show small business owners EXACTLY how to drive more business and then do it for them.

    Which is more valuable to a business?

    I saw that post and it grew to a humungus size before eventually being locked by the mods. I’m not sure if it’s still there or not. It was that post that first tickled my interest in all of this. The method is certainly a good one of getting your prospects attention, and I’ve thought up and read of some others since. Like anything, once you have a really good think about it and look at it from the business owners angle (“become the customer”), you come up with all sorts of imaginative ideas.

    Yes, the new autoresponder service would be ideal for this as it lets you set up client accounts under your main account. They can’t do all the stuff you can do, but they can log in and view their stats which is all that most people would want.

    http://www.frankhaywood.com/go/imail/

    I hadn’t heard of Angela Edwards until recently when I purchased a monthly subscription to a list of 500 high PR forums per month in a WSO and her name came up in the thread. Yes, you can see I’m taking this all quite seriously and putting in place some processes around me before launching it.

    Thanks for the tip about the term SEO in the UK. (Isn’t it Search Engine Marketing? Could be interchangeable I guess.) Way back in 2003 I bought an SEO package from a UK company for £1,000 and what a waste of money that was. All they did was create some “doorway” pages for my site, and of course that method soon got slapped.

    Six years on and I know a lot more about SEO / SEM now having seen some of my sites hit page 1 for highly competitive search terms (200 million pages of competition.)

    Gimmicks don’t work long term and should be avoided. On page SEO and links in are all that matter.

    Google Local Business Center – already spotted that one a while back. ;)

    You can’t help but notice the businesses who are smart enough to get listed on there, BUT…

    Are any of those businesses on page 1 of Google for their main search term? Nope. Even when you drill down and enter the first 3 digits of the postcode, do the sites that Google returns in the local business results appear in page 1 of the results? Nope.

    OMG, this is EASY stuff and most small business owners don’t have a clue.

    Look at this for dentists in my local area:-

    http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&q=shirley+dental+practice+b90

    Only 2,480 results and none of the sites are anywhere to be seen on page 1 (other than Google LBC) because they have no on site optimisation for the Shirley area (right next door to Solihull and part of it) and Google can’t work it out. An hour or two of work depending on what they want, and it would fix it for them to be in slot 1 on page 1 for any number of keywords.

    You’ve got to laugh at the opportunity going begging haven’t you?

    Mike:

    Spot on. That’s exactly the angle I’ve been looking at it from. Get in cheaply and have them refer you by word of mouth to other businesses. That kind of referral is the best advertising you can ever get.

    As you also said, it’s very important they can see exactly what your prices are up front for the *basic* service. One of the things that puts people off even starting in this direction is how much its going to cost them. If you can show them from the word go that it doesn’t cost much at all then they’re more likely to pick up the phone.

    I’d say it’s VITALLY important that you show them exactly what they’re getting and how long it’s going to take, and what your billable rate is after that initial work is done. What you don’t want is someone that’s going to call you twice a day and expecting to get your attention and help for nothing. Those “interruption” calls are disaster when you’re trying to get something done.

    Your hourly billable rate for “simple stuff” should be something reasonable like £35 / hour ($50) charged in 15 minute blocks and include phone calls and letter writing, proposals etc. Of course if they called me asking me to do additional work for them I’d roll the cost up into the final bill.

    Once you’ve laid out those ground rules, they know exactly what it’s going to cost if they contact you for more work, and will appreciate it all the more when you later initiate contact with them to offer them more services as that call won’t cost them anything. It’s a little “mind game” thing, but very important to get straight right from the very start so that you have a good business relationship.

    50% up front seems a very reasonable amount to me, and if you say that works to gain their committment than that’s what I’ll test to begin with.

    Vern:

    You’re right, NOW is the time more than ever.

    I had a go at creating a local directory in 2005, but found it very hard work in the UK as small businesses weren’t interested. It’s still live, but it’s no longer free as it started to fill up with spam. A bit of work and it should revive as Google likes nicely aged sites, but it definitely won’t be free again. What would really perk it up is creating a £50 ($75) monthly draw for both advertisers and for people who link to it. ;)

    Now I know a whole lot more about marketing, it shouldn’t be too difficult to make that site work the way I intended it to the first time round. It’s amazing what I’ve had my fingers in isn’t it? I surprise myself sometimes!

    Raymond:

    No, I haven’t. I know quite a few people are creating similar products at the moment, and I’ve bought three of them, but not Jim’s. I tell you what though, none of the products I’ve bought show the whole picture, and although they’re all good attempts, I wouldn’t wholeheartedly recommend any but one of them as they don’t show you step by step what you need to do.

    The third one is okay and has a nice idea for prospecting but I’d already thought of that method myself, and since I bought it the price has gone up to the point where I don’t quite think it’s worth it anymore.

    Gareth C T:

    Thanks for all your comments, and I appreciate what you’re saying about being too pricey. As I see it, the trick is to get in what I consider the easy stuff (like building a website) at a low cost, and then charge the real consultancy fees for the good stuff.

    BIG tip time.

    http://www.frankhaywood.com/go/art/

    Absolutely brilliant piece of software and worth its weight in gold so to speak. You can randomly auto generate and build as many HTML or WordPress designs as you like, it’s a piece of cake. You can even design a template and save it both as HTML and as a WordPress theme.

    Go download it for free and have a play with it, it’s fully functional but saves the template and WP theme graphics with “PREVIEW” written all the way through. The good news is they let you ask other people in the forums to save it as a fully working template and theme for a charge if you don’t want to buy the software yourself, you just give them the design file and they’ll send it back to you by return for a price.

    But it’s well worth getting it yourself. One offline “sale” and it’s paid for. It makes it a whole lot easier to create custom designed web sites for your customers, and dramatically cuts the time down. You can use it to generate a WP theme, then save it as a HTML template edited down to just the header and footer as a blank page you can put your sales copy in. Then use the WP Affiliate Pages method and create a sales page that looks like the rest of your blog. It’s actually not that hard to create a WP page single template with it.

    As for WP SEO, I’ve half created an ebook which will cover everything you need to know about on-site optimisation and then it’s just a matter of getting links back to the site. Everyone who purchased WP Affiliate Pages will get it for free.

    Greg:

    I know there are a lot of products out there and it can be a minefield to know which are worth getting and which are a waste of time. I’ve taken a look at the site and it does look like it’s decent package they’re offering, and from my perspective especially the presentation and also the proposal and statement of work documents. The latter can be a real headache to get right.

    Personally I don’t use much PPC as in most of my niches it doesn’t generate many additional sales, natural search gives me all the traffic I need. But I can see the logic in doing so for clients and I might have to think hard about that. Thanks for mentioning the product, the sales page was well worth the read. Even if I don’t purchase just yet, it’s now on my list unless the price goes up. ;)

    As for being a hosting reseller, yes I’ll be doing that too as it makes sense to do so. There’s a bit of billing software called WHMCS that I’ve got my eye on as it seems to do all kinds of billing as well as hosting and the price is very reasonable. It would be very useful I’d think. I’ll let you know when I get a chance to try it out.

    Noel:

    Please share. ;)

    Julie:

    I intend to write to prospects directly and I won’t be doing any cold calling. Yep good old direct mail. Depending on what you’re targetting each customer for depends on what you’d send to them.

    If they already had a web site, then I’d write to them about how they could increase their business tenfold just by making a few changes to an asset they already had without telling them what it was. If they wanted to know what it was (curiousity is a powerful factor), they’d call me for a free consulation.

    The asset of course is their poorly performing web site that didn’t have any kind of email gathering capability. Soup it up a bit from an on site SEO point of view and then add an autoresponder sign up box and without a doubt it will outperform their old set up.

    If they didn’t have a web site then I might try something like printing out the first page of Google results for their search term and sending it to them, pointing out their competitors. Even if their competitors only appeared there courtesy of the Local Business results, it should still be enough to shake them up a bit if the words in the letter were constructed in just the right way.

    I’d probably also take the plunge and go network at a local Chamber of Commerce, and might even put together a short talk if anybody was interested. At this point I’m not sure about the usefulness of that approach, but time will tell.

    Ray:

    That’s really cool. Generally speaking, registering the domain on behalf of the customer is an idea worth considering, especially if you’re charging them a monthly fee with nothing down. If they stop paying after a few weeks before you’ve got the job in the black, then you can take the site offline or redirect to another customer in the same niche. Ouch!

    Most people you’ll be working for likely won’t wish to have anything to do with domain registration and hosting and will leave it all to you, which is probably easier all round.

    On the convincing front, I reckon it’s all in how you approach it, and quite often timing can be a big player. Give them the facts and educate them, letting *them* do all the chasing once they realise what they’re missing out on.

    A fully loaded specialist site of your own with lots of carefully crafted educational pieces, and also the ability for people to Google your name to see who you are is always going to help build your credibility and trust. I can see your site is coming up in #1 slot for your name, so good one!

    Then practice what you preach. You’re going to be selling them autoresponder services and local SEO as well as web site creation, so you need to make sure that if someone types in “town SEO” your site comes up in the #1 slot. That shouldn’t be too hard to do as many SEO sites have Alexa rank in the millions – the lower the number the better. Just to put that into perspective, this blog you’re reading right now has a rank of 164,411 as I write this and I know how to duplicate that given a few weeks of effort. ;)

    Blase:

    Aha! I was hoping that someone who’d been at it for a while would show up.

    I totally agree with making sure you agree with the client in advance about what they’re getting for their money. A nightmare situation is the one where they constantly bug you with trivialities. And in those case it would be time to part company if you hadn’t taken the care to make sure they knew they’d be paying for all those phone calls.

    Nathan:

    That’s a nice idea for a small town if you have the skills – offer an all round service rather than specialise. I can see you’ve also taken the option of educating customers.

    All:

    Just a final note to everybody here.

    You’ve probably seen the education theme come up quite a few times here and this part of it is vitally important. If you educate your prospects, then the chances are very good that they’ll become your customers.

    You need to get them to the point where they can make an informed decisions of their own rather than you having to sell anything to them.

    There’s only one way on Earth that you can get anyone to do something permanently, and that’s to make them WANT to do it.

    If you show them the benefits and show them the steps needed to do it then they’ll see the need for themselves and trust you to do it for them.

    -Frank

  18. Jan Evensen says:

    Hi Frank!

    What a great idea!

    This could very well be what I’ve been looking for.
    Please let me/us know when you expect your package to be ready; I
    can hardly wait…

    Hope you’re going to include a customer contract template with the
    package?!

    Cheers,

    Jan

    http://www.ChristmasGifts-2009.co.uk

  19. Larry Bush says:

    This won’t be what I wrote that was deleted by Capcha, but it will do. I agree that there is a market waiting locally. I started to get into it several years ago and then was distracted by at least a thousand other things.

    I contacted several small businesses in my town and none of them had a website and no ideas on getting one, let alone building one themselves. I have owned a computer continuously since 1980 and should know more by now about computers and internet marketing than what I do know.

    A hosting/reseller site that I just purchased with the intentions of setting up inexpensive hosting and websites for small businesses was “Hacked” by a group of pickpockets before I had a chance to do any work on it. So, be aware that anybody planning the same thing should make certain that their sites are as secure as they can affordably make them. I dumped the site and took the loss rather than mess with it.

    Great idea, Frank, and very timely. Make a little profit while helping others. A win/win.
    lrybush

  20. Jan Evensen says:

    Hi Frank!

    This sounds interesting, and could well be another winner.

    Are you going to make a template for a customer contract as
    part of your package?

    Any idea when this new product will be ready for launch?

    Cheers,

    Jan

    http://www.ChristmasGifts-2009.co.uk

  21. Frank Haywood says:

    Larry:

    Yeah I’m sorry about that, the Clickcha owner has now contacted me so I’ll drop him a line about it.

    On the hosting front, as I said, I’ll set something up around WHMCS when I get to it and I’ll report back here. WHMCS also does billing too apparently, so it could be useful all round from a consultancy point of view.

    Jan:

    I’ve just retrieved your comments from Akismet – for some reason they ended up in there – which I do see happen with some of the more active readers on here. ;)

    Now you know I’m not a lawyer, hehe, so I couldn’t write up a contract to save my life, but I could certainly include some terms of reference for both parties that are not legally binding in any way.

    Thinking about this, sooner or later we’re going to come across someone we wished we never had. I think in those cases it’s a case of a total refund and say goodbye, and this should be included in the terms.

    All that would be needed is a signature of some sort which can include a digital signature under UK law for instance. So here in the UK, an email saying “yes I agree” is good enough I believe – somebody correct me if I’m wrong – I’ll find all this kind of thing out for sure, but you’d need to check out your local laws.

    Of course the idea is not to end up in a position where you find yourself in legal hot water, which is why it’s important that your prospective customers understand you can refund them and walk away if needs be.

    I know that all sounds a bit negative, but like I say, it’s just a matter of time before you hit a problem customer that you no longer wish to deal with.

    -Frank

  22. Simon Moore says:

    Hiya liked your idea re helping local business, just recently started to study internet marketing. Please could you tell me what word press is? Also I need some training. I initially started off through the Andrew Reynolds Cash on demand system but I have got bored reading about how rich he was at £30.00 per month. Sorry to have changed direction slightly but I like your openness, any ideas I would be great full.

  23. Hi; this is very interesting. I would love to see what you come up with as a package deal. I had not thought about building a web site for some one else. I have been to bussy trying to get my own site up front and making money. This sounds like a great idea, please keep me informed.

  24. Frank,

    I really like the clean design and functionality of the new layout. I for one would be very interested in taking part in your new offline package. Please let us know when it will be available.
    I’m currently looking for a layout that would allow for a prominent message/welcome below the headlines & graphics, roughly across the middle of the page,. That would be fixed for the home page. Then snippets of posts could appear below to give you home page activity.
    Thanks again,

    Allen

  25. Darren says:

    Hi Frank,
    I have been following your blog for years now and followed your lead in many of your idea’s such as Digital Delivery, IPK and WordPress sales pages and many many more. Now you have put pen to paper on a subject I have been trying to ‘evolve’ for quiet sometime now, using internet marketing skills in real world applications.
    Reading the other comments above proves this is a new and exciting area to explore and I for one would like you to use your fantastic knowledge of internet marketing to expand on this idea and share it with us.
    Keep up the great work Frank.

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